The Hydroxychloroquine Ethics Train Wreck

Ever since those two idiots (or maybe one dead idiot and a diabolical spouse) used fish tank cleaner to try to protect themselves from the Wuhan virus and the news media tried to claim the President killed the dead one by recommending the drug (though not the fish tank cleaner), this has been one of those situations where it is impossible to separate legitimate information from the news media  vendetta against Trump and what the actual situation is. Journalists really can’t help themselves; here are Peter Baker, Katie Rogers, David Enrich and , the Times’ regular Trump character assassins, in what is supposed to be a news story:

“Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer.”

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Did the Times ever, even once, call Obama the “community organizer-turned President”? How about “the former enthusiastic pot smoker” turned President?

As I’ve mentioned here before, the official talking point buzzword is that the President “touted” the drug, which is only available by prescription. Some experts, not infected with the Trump Hate virus, have had a reasonable reaction to his optimism. for example,Dr. Joshua Rosenberg, a critical care doctor at Brooklyn Hospital Center, told reporters,

“I certainly understand why the president is pushing it. He’s the president of the United States. He has to project hope. And when you are in a situation without hope, things go very badly. So I’m not faulting him for pushing it even if there isn’t a lot of science behind it, because it is, at this point, the best, most available option for use.”

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency order late last month allowing doctors to administer it to coronavirus patients if they saw fit. Many have seen fit. David Lat, the founder of the legal gossip site Above the Law, itself a virtual card-carrying member of the resistance, declared that the drug had saved his life during his hospitalization for the Wuhan virus.

David Harsanyi in the National Review takes a reasonable view that is both fair and realistic:

…I realize this might be difficult for some people to comprehend, it’s plausible, even likely, that Trump advocates for chloroquine because he is legitimately optimistic that a therapeutic answer might help Americans. Even if you feel he’s being reckless when speaking about the drug, you can accept that his intentions are good. It’s also possible that Trump is hopeful about hydroxychloroquine because he thinks it will help his reelection. Desiring an outcome that benefits the vast majority of Americans, but also benefits you, is a perfectly sound moral position. Hoping for negative outcomes to strengthen your partisan position, on the other hand, is pretty nefarious.

Which  is exactly what the news media is evidently doing.  This, however, is really disgusting, and once again, outs the Times and its reporters as what Prof. Reynolds calls “Democratic operatives with press credentials.” These four hacks write,

Some associates of Mr. Trump’s have financial interests in the issue. Sanofi’s largest shareholders include Fisher Asset Management, the investment company run by Ken Fisher, a major donor to Republicans, including Mr. Trump…Another investor in both Sanofi and Mylan, another pharmaceutical firm, is Invesco, the fund previously run by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. Mr. Ross said in a statement Monday that he “was not aware that Invesco has any investments in companies producing” the drug, “nor do I have any involvement in the decision to explore this as a treatment.” As of last year, Mr. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi.

I guarantee th innuendo will turn up in the feed of one of my 20 or so completely deranged Facebook friends. Harsanyi writes in part,

The story might be one of the most ridiculous articles published by mainstream media in the Trump era — though, admittedly, the field is highly competitive. But while knee-jerk anti-Trumpism is expected, the angry obsession over the president’s championing of hydroxychloroquine is uniquely ugly….As far as we know, Trump probably owns less than $100 of Sanofi stock in one of his mutual funds. If things go well, say he triples his position, Trump will be taking in upwards of $300. 

…The Left simply can’t accept that a Republican acts in good faith. If they’re not hiding some devious self-serving motivation, they’re under the thumb of a foreign power or a shadowy industry. If it’s not Big Oil leading George Bush into Iraq, it’s Mitt Romney trying to hand the country to his buddies at Bain Capital.

Working from this predetermined position, reporters are sure that Trump, who they think became president to fill the rooms in his D.C. hotel, isn’t merely peddling hope for hope’s sake alone… If there were a healthy, functioning fourth column, a piece like this would never run.  Can you imagine any major publication running a piece linking Barack Obama’s praise of GM’s heavily subsidized electric-car manufacturing to a thousand bucks in a mutual fund?

He also adds, reading my mind…

Nor should it escape your attention that the New York Times will assign four reporters to write an amateurish hit job, but not a single one to mention serious rape allegations against the leading Democratic Party presidential candidate by a former staffer.

13 thoughts on “The Hydroxychloroquine Ethics Train Wreck

  1. There is a Doctor Zelenko who serves a similar to Hassidic Jewish community who recently gave a long interview to Rudy Giuliani. In it he lays out how Z-Pack, zinc and chloroquine work in conjunction with each other to obliterate the virus at the human cellular level. The good doctor gives exact dosages in his interviews and the results he has achieved.

    Anyone accusing the President of being somehow mercenary in his recommendation of this medicine deserves a fate worse than this disease multiplied by the number of those suffering due to their disinformation campaign.

  2. It should be noted that social distancing has absolutely NO science backing its efficacy. Yes it is safe to a point but if you factor in added suicides from being quarantined indefinitely you might find the drug far safer given that it has a safety history that can be measured clinically.

    I have turned off the All news and drawing my own conclusions based on actual source data that can be confirmed.

    • Heh. Good luck finding unbiased source data that is anywhere near up to date.

      For example, NYC currently has a 3000-bed field hospital and a 500 bed hospital ship (normally 1000 bed, but 500 for COVID patients) that have treated a total of 110 people to date.

      We are seeing total infections reported, total deaths reported, and hospitalizations reported. We are not seeing recoveries (people who were infected but no longer are and are now immune) subtracted from infections, nor people released from the hospital, or ER patients as a percentage of hospializations.

      We are not seeing positive tests as a percentage of total tests so we can determine the infection rate per test for ourselves and determine if it is rising, flat, or falling. This is all by design, in order to keep us in fear. Blatantly fallacious models are still being used to emphasize how dire the situation is.

      As I say, all by design. The fearful and ignorant are easy to order about. The informed and fearless, not so much. And all this data should be at hand every day.

  3. The fact that Hydroxychloroquine is not under patent control, and that generics are CHEAP, undercuts the Trump is in it for money narrative. Of course the truth has little relevance to many of the main stream media talking heads.

    • Opal, thanks I was going to mention there is no big money in this drug goven that it has been off patent for decades. The people makinng money would be those that benefit financially from not using it as a therapuetic agent

      What costs more 1000 doses of hydroxychloroquine or one day in an ICU. That will tell you where the money is going.

  4. At this point, Trump can only do what he thinks is best, and hope enough people can see past the corrupt and dishonest media interpretations that present whatever he does or says as being the absolutely wrong thing. There’s a glimmer of hope, in his increasing poll numbers, that a good portion of the public may be catching on. For those who bother to look, there are entire montages of “journalists” and other such creatures doing 180’s on their previous positions as soon as Trump expresses a somewhat similar view.

  5. Great post Glenn. I sent something similar to my email group. I did include that in addition to mortality figures we need to associate those values with age and co-morbidity factors.

    I no longer have faith in Fauci and Birx. The models used to dictate policy were flawed from the outset. Revising the model to reflect reality and crediting the non-scientific policy of quarantining as the reason for the projections not coming to pass. They are all patting themselves on their backs for how well the got the American sheeple to do as they are told.

    Every goal needs to be measurable but no governor is willing to define what metric will be used to give us back our Constitutional rights. Fauci and Birx are giving them cover for keeping us prisoners in our homes and more and more dependent on government.

    • Chris,

      Excellent thoughts! You’ve alluded to the “conditioning” and “dress rehearsal” aspects of this, and I think you’re hitting center mass. I’m going to drop a note to my governor and ask just that question…what specific benchmark(s) gives us all freedoms back? Full disclosure, our governor has press briefings every morning and may have answered the question, but I don’t hear them – swamped at work.

  6. This tweet accurately summarizes the trajectory of the press’ narrative:

    (h/t: Twitchy.com)

  7. The purpose of the FDA order in March was specifically to allow use of hydroxychloroquine that had been donated to the strategic national stockpile to be used to treat Wuhan virus patients who are hospitalized but not part of a clinical trial. The new unexpected demand for the drug raised concerns among patients who need the drug for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis that there wouldn’t be enough for them.

    Doctors don’t require any special approval to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to treat any condition for which they feel it is medically indicated. Drugs which are labeled as FDA approved for one condition may legally, with very few exceptions, be prescribed “off label” to treat other conditions. If a drug used off label shows repeated good evidence of effectiveness, then the manufacturer may seek FDA approval for a new indication. But because drug trials are extremely expensive, manufacturers will only conduct the necessary clinical trials if they are likely to recoup their investment.

    There are two widely known drugs that were used off label, found to be effective, and approval was gained for the new indications. Sildafenil and minoxidil were both initially approved to treat blood pressure problems. While they are still sometimes used for their original indications, they are now more widely known as Viagra and Rogaine and used for substantially different purposes. Both are a case of finding a way to make a ton of money off what was originally just a side-effect.

    As a doctor, I am not totally happy to see anyone on TV pushing a specific treatment because decisions regarding medication use are complicated and can’t be boiled down to a sound bite. I have spent a lot of time telling some of my patients why the latest drug they saw advertised or touted on TV would not be appropriate for them and I’ve also spent time talking them out of stopping a medication because they heard something negative about it somewhere. In this particular case though, I think Mr. Harsanyi’s take is exactly right.

  8. By March 22, I had figured out that Hydroxychloroquine + zinc was potentially the thing. And found an Indian distributor who would ship 3 boxes of 200 mg. HCQ and a box of 50 mg. zinc tabs for $145 including shipping. I’m a lay person, but looked at it as a hedge, having the sneaking feeling that things could rapidly get out of hand.
    Long story short, Bank of America would not complete a wire transfer, claiming some kind of emergency retooling, and by March 24th, shipments had been suspended by India.
    A doctor I know did not hesitate to validate my decision to try to acquire the HCQ, and said that his neighbors were using the same strategy to try to get ahead of the emerging situation.

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